Sunday, December 20, 2009

The "Tomorrow" Diet

Confession time. Who is familiar with the “Tomorrow” Diet? Common variations include the “On Monday” Diet, the “After this next holiday/graduation/birthday party” Diet, and the ever popular “New Year’s Resolution”Diet.

You know, the diet that will start tomorrow—or whenever? Sometimes, tomorrow even comes. More often than not, it doesn’t. Or it comes and slips away, to be rescheduled for another day.

There are some benefits to diet planning. In 2003, The Hubster and I started South Beach on a whim. I’d bought the book and started reading it and decided we absolutely had to start right that very second. I went home and made the announcement and we started the diet that evening…without the proper groceries, money to buy them, or any clue about what we were doing. We made it work, but it would have been much easier if we’d been better prepared.

Diet planning also has its downfalls. Anyone here ever had a “Last Supper?” The last meal you’ll eat before starting the diet that will change your life forever? Nothing like a big, greasy pizza with a side of bacon, a couple of tacos, some cheesecake, and an ice cream sundae to make sure you get it all in before those foods become taboo.

But food doesn’t have to become taboo. You don’t have to say “no” to pizza forever. You may have to say “no” to eight pieces of pizza in one sitting, but you can still eat pizza. (I use pizza as an example because it’s my favorite food. When we were on South Beach, it became a BAD word in my house and it was the first thing I ate when we fell dove off the wagon.)

Diets are bad. Diets mean deprivation. Diets consist of temporary changes made to drop a few pounds. But what happens when we slip back into our old habits? The pounds come back.

Instead of dieting, make changes you can live with permanently. A friend of mine tried a weight loss plan years ago that had her eating foods she didn’t like. I remember watching in awe as she ate a few tomato slices because “they were on [her] meal plan.” Seriously? This girl would wash the sauce off frozen ravioli meals, that’s how much she didn’t like tomatoes, but here she was eating them because some DIET told her she had to? How can that last?

Take me and South Beach as another example. It was a great plan. I lost a lot of weight on it, too. But I love fruit and didn’t like limiting it. I love bread. I love potatoes. I love PIZZA. I didn’t love a plan that told me I couldn’t eat those things. I never lasted more than six months on the plan and I always gained the weight back as soon as I started eating whatever I wanted again.

This time has been different. What started out as a diet for me, has become a way of living. And while I’ve progressed in leaps in bounds, I falter from time to time, too. Leader Pam gave me some great advice today. She told me to eat for nourishment. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Our bodies need food for fuel…not entertainment.

So make some changes. Drink more water. Eat fruits and veggies. Be more active. Today. Right now. Why wait until tomorrow to start a better way of life?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Having an Identity Crisis

I went to the doctor yesterday. It was a specialty office that I hadn’t been to since March. The nurse took my height and weight and brought me back into the exam room. She took my blood pressure, pulled up my file on the computer, and entered in all my information. I was distracted and not really paying attention until she said, “Well, I’ve never seen this before.”

A big, red warning had popped up on the screen. “PLEASE CONFIRM IDENTITY DISCREPANCY.” She clicked on the button to view the details, and we read the pop-up together. The weight you entered indicates a 13% difference from the patient’s last recorded weight. Threshold is 10%. Verify patient identity before continuing.

She glanced at me, probably a little unsure I was supposed to see that, but I smiled. “No, that’s right,” I told her. “I’ve lost 50 pounds in the last year.”

She asked me how I did it, and I told her that I had joined Weight Watchers and the Y and I did it with diet and exercise. “That’s just great,” she told me. “You must feel like a whole new person.”

And I do.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Missing my Fat Clothes

I miss my fat sweatshirt tonight.

I’m never cold, but lately, I’ve been dragging out the long sleeves, wearing pants and socks at home, slipping under an afghan while I’m watching TV. I always joked that I was always warm because I was well-insulated…but now I wonder if there wasn’t some truth to that. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got my fair share of padding, but…it’s like a fifty fifty-one-point-two (YAY!!!) blanket has been lifted off me.

During my big closet purge, I got rid of everything I owned that was too big for me. I didn’t even keep a pair of pants I could hold up in front of me and drop dramatically, Biggest Loser style. I also got rid of my fat sweatshirt.

It was a big (obviously) blue sweatshirt given to me by Mrs. C’s sister-in-law years ago. It was ratty and not really fit for public wear, but I dragged it out every once in a while. I found it folded on the shelf in my closet and considered keeping it for nights when I wanted the big, comfy shirt to relax in. In the end, I decided I couldn’t keep it. It had to go.

Tonight, though, I miss my fat sweatshirt. Tonight, I went to Target for hair dye and lip balm and walked out with dinner. I was famished after Body Pump…and the rotisserie chicken and fancy sandwich fixings I walked out with weren’t nearly as bad of a choice as I could have made. Tonight, I overate, as I have for most of the day. My boss brought in bagels and orange juice this morning, in which I indulged…the carb-laden bagel did me in, and I was starving for the rest of the day. Stupid, addictive, hunger-inducing bread.

Sunday was my weigh-in day, and I do not always make the best choices on Sunday—although I did sweat my way through two Turbo Kick classes that day. And yesterday…well, yesterday I wanted Chipotle, and ended up eating half my fridge contents instead. (After a healthy dose of Hip Hop Hustle and PiYo.) I had planned on doing better today. And now, I will do better tomorrow.

I’m cold, though. Wish I had that big, blue sweatshirt to drown in.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm Here

Saturday morning, I got on my scale and was surprised at the number I saw there. It was exactly fifty pounds lower than my starting weight. I still had twenty-four hours to get through, so I tried not to be too excited about it. My day included two hours of exercise, some shopping with Little Sister, and a concert, after which my friends and I went out to a bar. They ordered appetizers. I had water with lemon. They were concerned I wasn’t eating, but I had eaten soup before the concert and I wasn’t really hungry. (Okay, when the spinach and artichoke dip, fried cheese, and buffalo wings came out, I got a little hungry.)

Plus, it was nearing midnight, and I kept thinking about something Leader Pam shared during my first meeting with her. “Think about how you will feel if you eat this. Think about how you will feel if you don’t eat it.” Usually, when I think about how I would feel if I ate it, the feelings are negative. It might be something that would make me sick—a number of things will do that to me…too greasy, too much sugar…it might keep me awake, it might make me smell bad…and I will always, always be upset with myself for eating it, especially when it turns out to be something I didn’t really want—something I could have lived without. I generally don’t get around to thinking how I would feel if don’t eat it, because by that time, I’ve usually decided not to eat it. With the appetizers, was no different. I knew I’d worked hard all week, and I didn’t want to blow my whole week by eating something so heavy nine hours before weigh in.

I came home and crawled into bed shortly after one in the morning. When my alarm went off a few hours later, I stumbled out of bed and packed my gym bag and some breakfast, grabbed my Weight Watchers stuff and headed off to my meeting. I was nervous about stepping on the scale, but I kept reminding myself that a loss was a loss, even if I didn’t hit that magic number.

Turns out, I didn’t need to worry.

Leader Pam was watching over Leader-in-training Lysa’s shoulder and she smiled at the number that popped up on her screen. “You had a great week.”

I was suspicious. “How great?”

Lysa gave me the good news. “Fifty pounds!”

I almost clawed my way over the counter and kissed her. I could not wipe the smile from my face. Fifty pounds. I grinned through the whole meeting and later met a couple of Turbo buddies for (what else?) some Turbo and lunch. In the car, I shared my good news.

They were both so sweet, and so excited for me. One of them asked how much more I want to lose. “I want to lose...” I hesitated, doing the math in my head. “Oh. I guess another fifty.”

“You’re halfway there!” She told me.

Halfway. Luckily, we were still in the parking lot so I wasn’t driving when I realized that she was right.

Have I ever made it this far before? I’ve weighed less than I do now, back in 2003, the first time I did South Beach, I weighed about 8 pounds less than I do now. But I didn’t feel this good. I didn’t look this good. And I never thought I could do it.

But I can. And it doesn’t matter how quickly or how slowly I got here. I’m here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speechless...for once.

Something wonderful happened in a dressing room at the mall today. My mom and I were in the small room together. I was trying things on and she was hanging them up for me, a relief after the horrors of back-to-school shopping with my girls. One shirt had me on the fence…it was cute, flattering, and pretty colors, except for a big orange flower splashed right across my left boob.

I decided I couldn’t live with the bizarre foliage and took it off. I went to hang it up and my mom said, “Wait, I want to try that one on.”
Thinking she meant the shirt she had brought in the dressing room for herself, I continued hanging up the weird-orange-boob shirt. Then, I realized what she was saying. My mom wanted to try on the shirt I had just been wearing. It was like a dream come true. Really.

Turns out, neither one of us looked good with a weird, orange flower spattered across our bosoms, so we left the shirt in the "No" pile--in betweent the "Maybe--after I double check the price" and the "No way in hell" piles. The next shirt I tried on had big, billowy ruffles for sleeves and an unflattering elastic band that raised the Is-she-dressing-for-two? question. I was giddy as I took it off. “Here,” I told my mom. “Try this one.” We giggled over the ridiculous shirt while I held back tears and tried to contain my excitement. Trying on clothes in the dressing room with my mom without having to shop in a completely different department. Without even having to find different sizes.

I'm trying to come up with something clever that describes exactly how I felt when I realized I had obtained this goal...I almost wrote without even really trying, but the truth is I've been working my buns off. I've met other goals...Losing my first 10 pounds. 10% of my body weight. 20, 30, 40+ pounds. But this is a different kind of goal...And this is a rare occurence, so take note--I have no words.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Monday’s child is fair of face.
Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
Wednesday’s child is full of woe.
Thursday’s child has far to go.
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But a child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

I was not born on a Tuesday, something that is painfully obvious.

I took dance as a child, a pretty little blond girl in a pink tutu. It was not something I excelled in. Not something I stuck with. Maybe I should have. Maybe I would have learned the fundamentals needed to be more graceful…or at least gain the ability to put one foot in front of the other without running into something or hurting myself.

At the shoe store I worked at in high school, I was often falling victim to one trap or another. Running into hooks, tripping over boxes, falling into sock bins. I was hilarious. I even won a fake award for being “Most Graceful.”

My lovely daughter seems to have inherited her mother’s poise. (And, funnily enough, she was born on a Tuesday.) At her first dance recital—actually, her second, since she refused to dance the first time and we spent twenty minutes crying in the hallway instead—we could see the difference in the kids who were naturally good at dance, and the others who had to work at it. Little Sister fell into the latter category, preferring to stand in the middle of the gym floor, mouthing the words to the song instead of performing the carefully choreographed moves.

As I aged, (Aged? Really? Yes, like fine wine or good cheese.) I hoped I would be able to execute day-to-day moves with more elegance. But that’s not the way it works. I am constantly putting myself in harm’s way, however unintentional.

A month or so ago, I was distracted at the Y, trying to get to class on time, worrying about changing my shoes, and chatting with someone at the same time and I walked into the leg press machine, which was being used by a rather large, muscular man. He felt terrible, but truthfully, it was my own fault. I was bruised for weeks. Just last night, I tripped over my own feet in the studio. There's just no hiding that kind of grace.

This morning, in the shower, I found a bruise on the back of my leg. It’s fairly new, and when I saw it, I started laughing because I know exactly where it came from. Monday night, in PiYo, I managed to kick myself in the calf. I don’t remember what we were doing (or rather, what we were supposed to be doing, because I’m fairly certain it was not kicking ourselves) but I do remember my foot making contact with my leg and thinking I was going to end up with a bruise.

That right there? That takes talent.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"We’re not stopping until somebody pukes!”

It’s a favorite quote from Turbo Jennie.

Tonight, I was almost there.

Tonight, Turbo Kick was held in the sauna. Sixty-eight people showed up to kick it to Round 38. We were literally asses to elbows, crammed together in the studio. During the warm up, a woman near the wall had to stop herself from hitting the wall on her cross punch. Ouch! It was jammed-packed-crazy-full in there.

To make matters worse, the air wasn’t working. At least, I’m pretty sure the air wasn’t working. Maybe it just felt that way because of all the people? It was HOT! Within minutes, my skin was flushed and sweat dripped down my face. During a quick break, a turbo buddy asked, “Is it just me, or is it 800 degrees in here?”

“It’s really freaking hot,” I told her, eyeing her pregnant belly. “I don’t know HOW you’re doing this.”

There were lots of red cheeks tonight. Lots of sweat (and CALORIES!) on the floor. After the second turbo—a couple of minutes of high intensity burn, for those who aren’t schooled in the ways of Turbo Kick—I started feeling…weird.

It could have been the heat. Or the headache that’s been plaguing me all day. It could have been that I was already exhausted from Hip Hop and work and…life. I stopped a couple of times and got a drink of water, trying to breathe through it. But the people…and the music…and the moving…I had to get out. Had to.

Walking out of the studio was like that first step outside on a crisp fall morning. Getting out of a hot tub and rolling down a snow bank. A breath of fresh air after being trapped for hours. I stumbled my way across the weight floor and into the bathroom. I dry-heaved over the toilet, positive that I was about to revisit all of the healthy food choices I made today.

After a moment or two, I turned on the cold water in the sink and tried to cool myself off. From the bathroom, I could hear Jennie yelling over the music in the studio. On the fitness floor, people were peering into the crowded room, trying to see what was going on in there. I had to go back.

It was like getting into the car after it’s been parked in the hot sun all day. Reaching into the oven to read the meat thermometer. The stinging heat that burns your nostrils when you step into the sauna. It was hot.

I kept it fairly low impact and managed to make it through the finale and the rest of class. It was a killer, though…can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gym Panties

This picture cracks me up every time I see it.

“Ugh, I am having some major underwear issues,” I told a pal during Turbo Kick tonight.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” she told me. “Sometimes, I just opt out.”

Good point, but my pants were thin material and I already felt like I was jumping around the studio half naked, so au natural was not an option for me tonight. (Um, or ever.)

I have certain pairs of underwear set aside for the gym. From time to time, I forget to pack “gym panties” and end up Pumping in pink lace. One night, in Hip Hop, I hitch-kicked and almost split myself in half. It was a giggle-fit that just could NOT be explained, followed by some very delicate minor surgery…and it’s hard to be discreet when one wall is completely covered in mirrors.

Recently, I’ve been on a mission for black gym underwear. Nothing fancy: just plain, black, cotton panties to wear under my gym pants, which also happen to be black. This way, when my too-big-for-me pants start to slip, I don’t have to worry about my underwear peeking out, because TA-DA! They’re the same color as my pants. Extremely clever, I know. Yes, I could buy new pants. But I didn’t think it would be too hard to find plain, black, cotton panties. But can I find them? No. No, I can’t. (Did I forget to say cheap? I meant to say cheap, too.)

During a trip to my local Walmart, I found a package of 3 pairs of black with 3 pairs of white. I considered it, until I checked the sizing measurements and realized they didn’t have my size. (Oh, and that felt good—the packages they had left of the black and whites were all too big for me!!!) I found another package with one black, one white, one gray. I figured that ONE pair of black gym panties was better than NO pairs, so I bought them. They are cute; cotton boy shorts, which I have bought before, but not to wear to the gym. I thought it would be okay. I was wrong.

This underwear is creepy. It creeps up, it creeps down…It creeps to places it just shouldn’t visit, and there is absolutely NO time during Turbo to put things back to where they should be…and really, what’s the point, because the next roundhouse, back kick, side push, or knee sends them right back into hiding. Seriously? My apologies to anyone I unintentionally mooned over the last few workouts. I’m working on it, I swear.

How about you? Do you do step class in satin? Karate commando? Turbo in a thong? (Okay, and no one will ever, EVER convince me that thongs are good, period. And hello? No one wants to see that thing poking out from under your pants. Ahem.) What’s your workout gear game plan when it comes to undergarments?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pot Holes

I’ve been writing this in my head all day. I was going to title it Inviting Failure. But I haven’t failed. This is just a stall. A bump in the road. I will get past this and I will be okay.

I made a big mistake this week. I’ve been excited and anxious for today’s weigh-in because it marks my anniversary with Weight Watchers. It was Monday, November 3, 2008 that I joined. This is the longest I have ever made it on the program. This is the most I have ever lost on the program. This is the last time I will ever have to lose this weight. I am confident in that.

This week has been a rough one for me, food-wise. We had two parties at work, food left over from a board meeting, and yesterday, we went to KB’s house, where her husband is all but a gourmet chef and makes the most delicious food EVER. And, did I mention it was Halloween?

On Tuesday, I sampled the party fare, but did not stuff myself.
Wednesday…Wednesday is where I made my mistake. I was standing in front of the fridge, searching for something, anything to munch on, and I told the Hubster, “You know, I think I will just expect to gain this week.” Little Sister had been sick, and I had been at home with her. I always struggle with food when I am at home during the day—fajitas for breakfast and popcorn for lunch, meals for champions, right there. It was as if I had given myself permission to fail…not to fail, but to…to not succeed. And it was nice to not be anxious about the scale for a few days. It was nice to allow myself a treat and not agonize over the choices I made. However, those few days of peace were not worth the anguish I felt today.
On Thursday, I managed to avoid the cookies in the break room that rivaled the size of my head. I even talked myself out of seconds of a sandwich that I really wanted.
But on Friday…what happened on Friday? Sausage and cheese dip happened. And bagels. And candy. Candy happened on Friday. Mother Nature showed up and gave me another excuse to gain weight this week. (Um, did I just tell the whole world what they think I just told them? Yes, I did. I’m a girl. It happens. It’s one of the facts of life, even—no, not the TV show, but who’s singing the song right now? “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have the facts of life…the facts of life.” You’re welcome.)
Saturday, I rolled out of bed in time for Turbo Kick and Body Pump, and then went shopping, and it wasn’t until I arrived home around 2:00 that I realized I hadn’t eaten anything all day. I grabbed a sandwich, and then indulged that evening at KB’s house, and only snagged a few of Little Sister’s treats.

Still. I woke up this morning feeling lousy. Before I even stepped on the scale, I knew. I tried to tell myself that it was okay. That I’ve lost for the last 6 weeks, and I was bound to gain sooner or later. I reminded myself that I expected it, given permission, even. Then, I got to my meeting. Leader Pam weighed me in. “You’re up a little bit,” she told me. “Is everything going okay?” I explained work parties and gourmet food and Halloween, and yes, even the facts of life to her, and she smiled and said that life happens, and it’s okay not to be perfect all the time. Then she handed me my book. I was horrified at the number behind the plus sign. Tears sprang to my eyes and I looked back at her. “That is NOT a little bit.” She patted my hand and told me it was okay. I was not okay, though.

I stewed in the meeting, setting ridiculous goals for myself. (Cabbage soup all week? Working out 3-4 hours a day?) Afterwards, I cried in the car as I drove to the YMCA in Prior Lake, texting Turbo Sara that I needed a good butt kicking. Since I got there early, I ran on the treadmill, pushing myself, punishing myself, sweat flying everywhere. By the end of class, I was dripping, my heart pounding. But I felt better, too. I know that this is temporary. I know that I am not going back to where I was, and that I have the tools and the knowledge (and the support) to turn myself around right now, before it gets worse. Before I give up. Before I stop believing in myself.

While I’m unhappy with the gain I had this week, and anxious about what the holidays in the next two months will bring, I’m impressed with my attitude. (Okay, not my initial attitude, my I’ve-had-a-while-to-think-it-over attitude.) This is a major breakthrough, a key change for me. I won’t pout and feel sorry for myself and drown my woes in chocolate. I won’t push myself so hard, I lose hope. I will lean on people I know will support me and I will look to myself to make the choices I know are best for me.

That said, I’ve set some more realistic goals for myself. I will track my points every day. I have discovered that this really helps me. It makes a difference in my weight loss and I will do it. I will continue my regular workouts, which hasn’t been a problem, but I will push a little harder. Jump a little higher. Do a little MORE. I am starting a new Kettle bell class on Thursday, and I am a nervous, but excited for the change, too.

In January, when everyone and their mother joins Weight Watchers to help them with their New Year’s Resolutions, and the studios at the Y hit capacity with all the “tourists” who hang out for a few classes, never to be seen again, I will be there, smiling, encouraging, and making room for them. I will get through this. I will lose the weight. And I will succeed.

I know I have been remiss in my blogging of late. The A/C adapter on my laptop died and it’s a proprietary part, which means I have to shell out $70 to Dell or risk eBay to obtain a new one. Since funds are a little light right now, I’m putting off the purchase, which chains me, once again, to my desktop. Blogging is much more fun from my recliner.


Saturday, October 24, 2009


I'm thinking I should print this out and put it on my fridge.

I am home alone. Well, not really. The Hubster went to play hockey for the first time this season and Big Sister is hanging with her mom. Little Sister is in bed, so I have the place to myself.

This is a dangerous, dangerous time for me. I am not hungry. I had plenty to eat today…a smallish breakfast because I had Turbo and Pump this morning—I absolutely cannot kick it on a full stomach—followed by a protein-filled lunch consisting of an egg and ham sandwich with some fruit…nuts and granola later for a snack…and a good-sized fillet of grilled salmon with a double helping of broccoli for dinner. I am not hungry.

But I am starving. I want to eat. I want to make brownies or cookies and eat the whole pan before they have a chance to cool. I want to shred up some cheese and make quesadillas. I want to make dip and eat all of the little bags of chips we bought for the girls’ lunches. I want to investigate my fridge and eat everything I can find.

But I don’t. I have to weigh in tomorrow morning, and while I haven’t been tracking this week, I am feeling pretty good about where I’m at. I hate it when I have a good week and ruin it the night before my meeting by eating something too salty or too heavy. I like Weight Watchers and I can honestly say that having this accountability is really helping me, but only being able to count my weight once a week is hard…it really can be thrown off by a poorly planned meal or two.

I shouldn’t be thinking about it. I should get up and do something productive…or, better yet, go to bed and get some real sleep and then wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready for breakfast to go. I should NOT keep sitting here, thinking about food I want, food I shouldn’t have, feeling sorry for myself and dreaming about the cheeseburger I’m having for dinner tomorrow.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the Horizon...

I'm changing. I can feel it. Not just my body, not just my clothes. Me. The way I think, the choices I make, the way I feel about myself. Change is coming.

Writer Sarah and I were talking books one day, and she told me she was reading The Four-Day Win by Martha Beck. Always on the lookout for a life-changer, I rushed out to the bookstore that day and bought it. (Along with a couple more cookbooks to feed my addiction.) I took it to bed with me that night and started reading.

I laughed at the first chapter title: “Why are you so Damn Fat?” On page two, I had an epiphany. (On page TWO!) “Bottom line: eating is a deliberate behavior, however compelling.” My eyes got big and I dropped the book. I might have cried a little bit.

It’s true. Not matter how many times I’ve thought that I have no control over what I eat, I do. I have to make a conscious decision about putting the food in my mouth, chewing it up, and swallowing it. It isn’t like breathing or blinking. It’s something my brain has to okay before I can do it. So, why did it take a book to tell me that?

Chapter Five starts out with an explanation of “The Polar Bear Effect.” The reader is challenged to think of anything she wants to for the next ten seconds as long as it has absolutely nothing to do with polar bears. It’s impossible. The more you think about the foods you shouldn’t or can’t have, the more you will crave them.

The day after I read the chapter, we had a party at my office. I had offered to make dessert, thinking I could bring in some fruit or something else sensible that I could eat, too. I was told that cookies had already been purchased for the party, and imagine my dismay when I walked in that morning and discovered they were my absolute, all-time favorite cookies ever. I went into panic mode.

I thought about them all day. Oh. My. God. There are cookies in the break room. I LOVE those cookies. I haven’t had them in SO long…they are SO many points. If I have one or two, I’ll want more. I have to have those cookies. There are cookies in the break room. COOKIES in the break room.

Just before lunch, it hit me. Those damn cookies were my polar bear. I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about them if I kept telling myself I couldn’t have them. I took a few deep breaths and thought about what I should do. In the end, I decided I would have two cookies for 3 points. I ate them, enjoying every bite, and tracked my points. When they were gone, I flossed my teeth and popped some gum to get the flavor out of my mouth. The next morning, there was still an entire tray of those cookies left. Instead of being upset that they were still there, I was able to ignore them because I wasn’t still thinking about them and stressing over the fact that here cookies down the hall from my desk.

I feel empowered over food like I’ve never felt before. I am in control. I make the choices. And I can do this.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


No, not that kind of purging. While there have been times I wished I had the nerve to stick my finger down my throat and relieve myself of a heavy meal, I know I never could. In short, I don’t do puke—at all. It’s in my wedding vows. The Hubster promised to love, honor, kill spiders, and clean up all the vomit. (It was very romantic.)

I am talking about the purging of STUFF. Tangible things that take up space and create havoc in my tiny living quarters. This afternoon, I found myself sans children and decided to tackle a project I’ve been putting off for far too long.

My closet. (Cue scary, psycho, knife music here.)

I have really big closets. (We’ve discussed this before.) Two years later, my closet is still jam packed full of crap. It is not a walk-in closet anymore…it is a climb-in-and-pray-nothing-falls-on-you closet. In fact, when I got close to the bottom, I found a garbage bag half filled with trash…probably from the last time I attempted to clean the damn thing. I hate it.

Time to do something about it, then. This afternoon, I turned on the radio and got busy. I started with the floor, so I could reach the clothes. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was because there were a lot of empty boxes acting as “filler.” The Hubster seems to think we need to keep every box that comes through our door…shoe boxes, stereo boxes, shipping boxes…everything. Well, those babies went in a big pile right inside our front door so they would be the first thing he saw when he got home.

I moved his stuff—guitar stuff, tools, etc in a pile by his side of the bed so he could go through it in his own time just as soon as he walked in the door.

There was clothing on the floor…not on purpose (mostly) but errant from slipping off a hanger. I started trying on everything I could reach, and in the process, I learned a few things. Of course, I was compelled to share my new found wisdom here.

Don’t buy clothes that don’t fit. Period. Don’t think you’ll save time by not trying something on in the store because if it doesn’t fit, time is wasted going back to return it or, even worse, money is wasted when it sits in the closet for so long you pass that size. I found pants in my closet that still had tags on them because they were too small when I bought them. I thought I would keep them for when I lost a few pounds…but they’ve been buried for so long that they’re now too big for me. (I know, so sad. Go get a tissue. I’ll wait.)

Also, don’t buy clothes that don’t fit. Don’t buy that cute sweater a size smaller because they didn’t have in your size and it was such a steal, you had to have it. You don’t know how it’s going to look on you when you get there—if you remember you have it. (See above.) I had a cute, pink sweater I actually bought at a garage sale…probably two summers ago, thinking I would be able to wear it in a few more pounds. I never got there and it sat, taking up space in my closet. Now that it fits me, I don’t like it. It’s too short, the neck is cut funny, and it’s itchy. I put it in the donation bag.

Know your body. For example, I don’t buy turtlenecks. I don’t like stuff by my neck; I know I will never wear them; I do not buy them. Ever. Once in a while, I will find something cute with a cowl neck and try to talk myself into it…but I usually manage to avoid temptation by putting my hand around my throat for a second or two.

And, know your body. The ladies in my office are always freezing. They wear cute sweaters and rub their hands together and comment about how cold it is. One woman even knitted everyone shawls to ward off the chill. I am always fine. It is very rare that I am cold at work. While everyone else is sporting layers and running a space heater at their desk, I’m in short sleeves with my fan on, pulling my pant legs up under my desk. That said, why the hell do I own sweaters? Hey, Genius, don’t buy sweaters! You will never wear them because you know you’ll get hot so don’t buy them! No more sweaters.

Know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold 'em. (Know when to walk away, know when to run...sorry. Couldn't help it.) Some things, I just have to hold on to. I told the Hubster he could ditch the suit he wore to our wedding, but I couldn’t bring myself to do the same with the maternity dress I wore. Age has stained it, though, so I decided to do something with the fabric. (I don’t know what yet, baby steps, people.) I also held on to the dress I’ve been saving for the last ten years now, hoping that one day, it will fit me again. I unzipped it today, but didn’t try it on. I was flying high off of all the clothes that were too big for me and didn’t want to bring myself down by squeezing into something I wasn’t ready for.

So, when all is said and (almost) done, I’ve got five bags full of clothes to donate-—plus two more I’ve already donated—and two bags full of garbage. I can see the floor in my closet now, and, while I’ve generated a few “side jobs”—like going through the box of old pictures I found in there, I’m feeling pretty happy with how much I accomplished today. Some of the clothes were hard to get rid of…shirts that I liked, pants that were comfortable…but it felt SO GOOD to try on so many things that just hung off of me. I focus on my trouble spots—my stomach that won’t seem to shrink, my calves, which are anything but sexy…but at the end of the day, my body is changing…so I must be doing something right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stalked by Jillian Michaels, Part Two

Seriously? This is freaking me out.

Here is the post I started last night and saved as a draft before I scooted off to bed.

An Open Letter to Myself

Dear RC;

It’s Friday. Take the night off from exercising and do NOT feel bad about it. I know what you’re thinking. We already had a night off this week. We skipped Pump on Tuesday to babysit for the Mrs. C. We should run on the treadmill tonight. Maybe see how long we can go on the elliptical. Something? Anything.

No. No. NO. We will take the night off. Think about how great Saturday morning Turbo feels with fresh legs. We’ve worked hard this week. We’ve already got 7 hours in, looking at 2 more on Saturday. Hello?—9 hours in the gym is pretty damn good. Be proud of us and what we’ve already done this week. Don’t worry about doing MORE.

I was tired and not really doing a very good job at convincing myself--come on, just 20 minutes of Pilates? How about the PiYo video I haven't opened yet? Something? Anything. No!

Luckily, Jillian Michaels is looking out for me and I got this in my inbox this morning.

From: Losing It With Jillian Michaels
To: Me

Date: Friday, October 16, 2009 at 4:34 AM
Subject: Prop Those Feet Up--Take Time Tonight For You

Pamper Yourself

You've been working hard lately, and now it's time to take a little pampering break. That's right, guys: I want you to take a break from your life! Forget about whatever it is you think you have to do and give yourself some TLC. To hell with the laundry, the dishes, the accounting, the errands, and even the Internet! Turn your cell phone off and try these tips tonight:

Soak in a tub. Nothing feels quite as decadent as a warm bath. Add some essential oils — such as lavender and rosemary — or organic bubble bath. Place some candles around the bathroom and then soak away the stress.

Take time out to read. Whether it's a book, your favorite magazine, or the newspaper, set yourself up in a quiet place and indulge yourself without interruption.

Make a pampering appointment. Get a new haircut, go for a manicure and pedicure, or get a professional shave at the barber's.

Go to a movie. Think you don't have time to catch the latest flick? Think again. This is your downtime, kiddo. Grab some air-popped popcorn — but hold the butter — and go Hollywood!

Sleep in. Seriously, it feels so great to just turn the alarm off before you hop into bed. Give yourself permission to sleep, sleep, sleep the morning away.

Enjoy it while you can — because tomorrow it's back to work!

I am still feeling a little anxious about planning to not exercise...but I am also feeling a little better about it, too. Funny what a well-timed mass email will do for me.

Happy Friday! I am taking the night off!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I tend to avoid things that I am uneasy about. If I think a patient will yell at me, I don’t want to call them back. If I’m worried about an email from an angry author, I won’t check my email for days. If I think I’ve gained weight, I avoid the scale at all costs.

Considering my addiction to the scale, it’s a pretty big deal for me to not weigh in every day. It’s me making a conscious decision not to step on that little machine that I usually rely on.

I have been avoiding the scale this week. My meeting on Sunday was fantastic, but I was disappointed that the 40 pound mark eluded me. (I weighed in at 39.8 pounds…it was all I could do not to shed all my clothing right there in the lobby and demand to be weighed again.)

I tracked my food on Sunday until we picked up pizza for dinner, and then I decided that I should get to have one meal a week that I don’t worry about points. (Not a whole cheat day, just one meal.) On Monday though, I helped myself to two pieces of apple cake with homemade caramel sauce. I’d left my tracker in the car and never got around to writing down what I ate that day. At home, I had a hankering for some onion dip…which I just happened to have ingredients for. Tuesday, I successfully evaded the cream cheese Danish screaming my name from the break room…however, I was starving when I got home and ate some leftover pizza while I cooked dinner…and then some chicken nuggets while I was babysitting Mrs. C’s clan…and then two pieces of garlic bread…and some hot chocolate…when I got home. Oops.

Today was tricky. I had the day off of work, which can often spell disaster for me. At work, I just bring healthy food and (generally) only eat what I bring. At home…well, I can make whatever I damn well want. (And I keep mostly healthy stuff around the house, but I like to bake… ’nuff said?) When I got up, I made a deal with myself that I would write down every bite I ate today…to keep me honest.

I did well, and only went over by 2 points. I also earned 30 activity points today, so I’m pretty sure I’m okay. Tomorrow morning, I will get on the scale. I know it will be fine. I know I am obsessing over it for no reason. I know that, overall, I make healthy choices, and that I’ve worked my ass off in the gym. (Like burning 2000 calories in the gym today? Yeah, I’m not so worried about those two points. It was a glass of milk, anyway. Not chocolate or something like that…Mmmmmm, chocolate. Oops.)

I know that the anxiety I’m feeling about weighing in after a few days is unfounded. I know…or I hope, at least, that I will be thrilled with the number I see when I step on the scale in the morning. I just have to remind myself that even if it’s not as low as the number I saw on Sunday, it’s not the same number I saw a month ago. It’s not anywhere close to the number I saw when I started this journey. Still, I know it won’t be the last time I use avoidance as a defense…it’s just something I do.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I am a well-endowed girl. Always have been. I never struggled with little-girly training bras or had that awkward does she/doesn’t she need one? stage. I went to bed flat-chested one night and woke up with C cups.

It was embarrassing when I was younger. I always had the biggest boobs of anyone in my class. In the middle of seventh grade, we moved from Indiana to Colorado…I’ll never forget that first gym class. My mom had oh-so-thoughtfully written my name across the front of my shirt. We were running in gym and a BOY ran up beside me and introduced himself. When I told him my name, he said, “I see that,” his head bobbing up and down with the writing on my shirt. I was mortified.

Once I started high school, things improved because most of the other girls finally had them, too. There were still problems…In choir my sophomore year, we had to wear tuxedo shirts. Um, hello? Girls are not made to wear tuxedo shirts. Shopping for prom dresses was a chore, too.

Ugh. Boobs. Women who don’t have them want them, but girls who have them know they’re more trouble than their worth.

Finding bras that fit has been next to impossible. I never wore the right size. I was spilling out all over the place…it was not pretty. Finally, I went to get measured and discovered what I hoped I wouldn’t. I was a 46G. Woah.

My chest accessories have long been a hazard in the gym. They often served as my excuse not to exercise, until I learned that double bagging it is the only way to go. Still, even under wraps, they regularly pose problems.

I was having trouble with triceps exercises during Body Pump one night and Turbo Jennie came over to assist me. She told me to keep my elbows closer to my ribs. “I can’t,” I whispered. “My boobs are too big.” Ha! Not a defense she would accept. During my birthday turbo round we were shaking it, and she yelled over the music, “Birthday Girl, put those things away!!!” During a Hip Hop class, we were dipping and shimmying and she looked over her shoulder and asked me, “You don’t even have to try, do you?” Ah, yes, my breasts are a frequent topic of conversation and cause for consternation.

Most recently—yesterday, to be more specific—I had a little trouble in PiYo. The class is an athletic offering of pilates and yoga and is guaranteed to get me sweaty and swearing. I love it and I hate it…it is HARD, but awesome and I am loving the changes I’ve seen in myself since I started taking it. Last week, we started a new round and Jennie demonstrated the shoulder stand.

I watched her with wide eyes, shaking my head, thinking to myself, I can’t do that. There’s no way. But I tried it (because she made me)…and I did it! I was amazed with myself and very excited. This week, I knew it was coming and I was ready for it. The first time, I executed it with no problems. The second time, however, was a little more difficult.

I was a little overzealous in getting my legs in the air and almost fell over. I managed to stabilize myself, but my knockers—defying two sports bras and two tank tops, but not, it seems, gravity—slid forward, into my face, smothering me. There were several seconds where I struggled to catch my breath as I actually choked on my own boobs. After I shoved everything back into place, I tried a repeat performance, but by then, I was giggling too much to hold the pose. (It did not help that a girl next to me fell over right after that. Jennie scolded us for having fun.) Of course, I had to share with her the reason for my laughter after class. Nothing like ending the night with a mouthful of mammary.

In the 20 years or so that my weight has been yo-yoing, I have very rarely lost in my chest…yet, it was always one of the first place I gained. So it seemed I just kept getting bigger. This time around was different. The weight loss was noticeable in my face, first…but then my boobs started shrinking.

In the last year, I’ve dropped about a million bra sizes. Okay, not a million, but it sure feels that way. (As Jennie pointed out, it just goes to show that they’re only fat. Sorry, boys.) Don’t get me wrong, I still have plenty of boobs to go around. (I often offer them to other, “less fortunate” women. I only wish it was that easy.) I’m hoping that this is a good sign…another thing on my list that tells me that this time the last time I have to struggle with my weight.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. (No way, right?) Ladies, whatever size your jugs are, remember to do a self exam once a month, see a doctor for a breast screening once a year, and get a mammogram yearly after age 35 or 40, depending on risk factors. Also, visit this website daily and click to give free mammograms to women in need.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Just a Quick Note...


I just wanted to say thank you SO much to everyone for their support, kind words, and sweaty hugs over the last few days. I cannot even begin to explain how much it helps me to write out my thoughts and have a good cry over them...and of course, I'm always so compelled to share. I'm glad, seems that most of us have been there before, and I thank you for sharing your stories and understanding. I have the greatest friends EVER.
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Monday, October 05, 2009

I've Been Here Before

I will always think of myself as a Fat Lady. In my head, I will always be the girl to whom boys didn’t pay any attention. The girl who cried in the dressing room every time she tried on clothes. The woman who couldn’t fit on the amusement park ride with her daughter. When I look at myself, I see me at 274 pounds. Granted, that was almost four years ago, but it’s the heaviest I’ve ever weighed in at. The heaviest I’ve ever been. The heaviest I’ll ever be.

I’ve gone up and down, and up and down…and up and down for years. For most of my life, really. Where I am now…I’ve weighed less. I’ve weighed more. I’ve been here before. My friend, KB, is worried about me. She thinks I’m becoming obsessed. Worried that I am giving myself an eating disorder. I fret over food, panic about portions, and struggle with the scale. To be honest, I’m a little anxious about it, myself.

I know that she’s right. I need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and stop agonizing over this weight loss thing. But I’m terrified of going back. I had to look back through the years and find out when I weighed in at 274. Was it two years ago? Was it four? Or was it yesterday? Will it be tomorrow because I ate too much tonight? She points out that I won’t be going back because of the lifestyle changes I’ve made with both food and exercise. But I’ve been here before. Over and over again. Up and down. And up and down. And every time…EVERY single time, I swear that this it. That I’m making changes for good. Over and over again, I made myself that promise.

I want to believe that this—right now, right this second—that this is the time. That this is really, really it. No going back.

But what if it’s not?

I lost 3 pounds last week. Despite missing a few workouts. Despite overeating on a couple of occasions. Despite candy corn, Jimmy Johns, and chicken tacos, I lost 3 pounds, bringing my total to 37.4.

37.4 pounds! It's amazing and I am thrilled and proud of myself...

But I’ve been here before.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Stalked by Jillian Michaels

I found this message in my email this morning.

From: Losing It With Jillian Michaels
To: Me

Date: Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 5:36 AM
Subject: Don't Get Frustrated With Your Scale

What the Scale Is Not Telling You
It happens all the time. You've stayed on top of your workouts AND watched your diet every day, but then — Bam! — you hit that dreaded weight-loss plateau and can't get the scale to budge. Instead of getting angry at what the scale is saying, take a minute to think about what the scale is NOT telling you — like what a strong and healthy individual you're becoming. Do you have more endurance? Have you lost inches from your waist? Do you look better in your clothes? Don't be a slave to the scale. Weigh in only once a week, and the rest of the time just take note of the difference in how you're feeling.

Woah. Yes, ma'am.
Although I think forcing myself to stay off the scale for a whole week is a little too hard, I am going to make a conscious effort to weigh just once a day. I'm writing the number in my food journal so I can see it all day to remind myself that I've already stepped on the scale and don't need to do it again.
Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words. My support system is the greatest!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alweighs on my Mind

I have a problem.

There, I said it. It’s the first step to dealing with it, right?

I am addicted to my scale.

I know that I shouldn’t really weigh myself more than once a week. I know that weighing myself every day is not a good idea. I know that body weight can fluctuate as much as 10 pounds in a single day…I’ve seen it happen.

It’s not just every day, though. It’s every morning. Every night. Before meals. After meals. Before and after working out. Before and after showers. Every time it’s in my sight, I have to step on it. Just to “see.”

I thought it wasn’t a big deal. It couldn’t be a problem because wasn’t making different choices based on the number on the scale. I was just curious.

But it’s become a big deal. It’s become a problem. Do I want seconds? Let me check the scale, first. The number haunts me during my workout, pushing me, taunting me. It can build me up and tear me down several times in a matter of hours. It’s exhausting.

It hit me last week that something has to change. I talked to the Hubster about it and asked if I could hide the bathroom scale and he could use one at the Y for a while. (I could use one at the Y, too, but I don’t like to get on the scale in front of other people—it’s the same reason I won’t use the one at my office, with or without someone standing guard for me.) He agreed, but I still couldn’t bring myself to put it away.

After my Weight Watchers meeting last Sunday morning, I decided I was ready. I’ve been doing very well with my weight loss lately—I’ve lost 9 pounds in the past 3 weeks, bringing my total to 33.8 pounds and I am feeling great. I am SO over the plateau.

So I stashed away my scale and I haven’t weighed myself in a week.

It’s a tough habit to kick. I can’t say how many times I’ve walked into the bathroom, looking for a scale that’s not there anymore. I’ve even eyed the scale at the office and the one on the fitness floor at the Y. It’s killing me. This week, I did a little rearranging in my bathroom, and the scale “just happened” to find its way out of hiding. I did not step on, although I tried really hard to convince myself that no one would ever know since I was home alone. I’ve stood in front of the scale several times, actually, trying to cut deals with myself. Last night, I was in the locker room by myself, eyeing the scale there. I didn’t do it, though.

I decided to wait until my meeting and learn my fate. I figure, if I gain, then I need to step it up and get a better handle on my eating, etcetera. If I lose, then I need to chill out and quit freaking out about weighing myself every two seconds.

Of course, my plan has flaws. Since I haven’t been weighing, I’ve been killing myself with exercise, spending a grand total of eleven hours working out, including Turbo Kicking four times, a three mile Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s association, and two and a half solid hours of exercise at the Group X Fitness Jam last night. For the most part, I made pretty smart food choices. I did have more than my fair share of tacos….and a woman at my office broke out the candy corn last week. I’ve learned that it’s easier for me to just say NO and not allow myself any than to try to have a little bit. If I have none, I’m okay. But if I have some…I want more. Because I don’t want a little bit. I want the whole damn bag.

When I got up this morning, I eyed the scale, dying to know the number that awaited me. I knew, though, that there was nothing I could do to change it, so I may as well suck it up, head to my meeting, and find out the official number there. I lost…6/10ths of a pound. I won’t lie. I was disappointed. I’m really close to 35 pounds and I was hoping I would see it this week. It took me forever—yes, literally forever—to reach 30 pounds, I know I shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to see 35, but I am. I’m also ready to see 40, 50, 60+ pounds lost.

There have been plenty of non-scale victories. Smaller clothes, compliments, more energy, higher self esteem…the list goes on. It’s harder to appreciate those things, though, when the number is still so high. If I was struggling to lose my last five, ten, or even twenty pounds, I would feel better about the sluggish pace at which I’ve been losing. But, people, I still have at least another 65 pounds to lose. I’m not even halfway there. It’s frustrating.

During the Memory Walk yesterday, I was discussing weight loss with one of my teammates and I told her I wanted to lose about 100 pounds.
She laughed, “You don’t need to lose a hundred pounds!”
I smiled and told her, “Not anymore.”

I know that I’m on my way. I know that I can do it. (Do I sound convincing enough?) I’m suddenly feeling awful about myself. I was making dinner tonight and the Fat Lady inside of me was screaming at me to use more cheese. (I didn’t, although I did indulge in 6 ounces of delicious ice cream later.)

So, what have I decided about my little scale experiment? Like everything else, the scale is okay for me in moderation. I will allow myself to weigh in just once a day, not every time I think about it. I put a new shelf in my bathroom this week, so I think I will put a notebook there so I can keep track of how I’m doing.

34.4 pounds gone. While I’m secretly hoping for a 5.6 pound weight loss next Sunday so I can jump right to 40 pounds lost, I would be happy losing another .6 to get me to 35. At least it’s something.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Success Stories

Our YMCA has a bulletin board by the front desk, highlighting members. Recently, they've changed it to showcase members who have found success with the Group Fitness classes offered. This month, the Hubster and I were asked to write something for the board, along with another woman from our Turbo Kick class. It's exciting for me to be considered a success story and I wanted to share what we wrote.

My husband and I joined the YMCA in March of 2008. Both of us were overweight and out of shape; something needed to change. We picked the Y because there are so many different things to do and it is so family friendly. We were excited about all the different machines, a welcome sight after using our apartment building’s pitiful excuse for a workout room for almost two years. (An elliptical, a treadmill, and a big, scary weight setup.)

For three months, we barely made our minimum visit requirement to continue getting the discount through our insurance company. We came, walked the track a couple of times, looked around, maybe swam a bit with the kids…but we weren’t doing anything…and nothing was changing.

Last July, while leaving the Y after our daughter’s swim lesson, we ran into friends of ours who invited us to come to Turbo Kick. I laughed, thinking she was kidding. “We’re not exactly in the same shape,” I told her. She said it would be fun.

Fun? I had my doubts. I looked for excuses. But I went anyway, scared out of my mind.

Within minutes (or was it seconds?) I was huffing and puffing and bright red, too embarrassed to leave my position and grab a much needed gulp of water. I still don’t know how I ever made it through that first class. J was just as beat as I was afterwards. He said he would like to do it again, though.

And so we went back. Again, and again.

I never thought I would be one of those gym people who schedules her life around exercise classes. I’ll never forget that first class. The first time we Turbo Kicked twice in one week. Three times in one week. My first Body Pump. The first Turbo/Pump “Double Header.” I couldn’t get enough. No more excuses. That first night opened the door to Group Fitness classes for me. I scoured the schedule with a highlighter, marking classes I wanted to try. Body Step, Body Flow, Fitness Yoga, Mat Pilates…later, Body Pump, Zumba, Hip Hop Hustle, PiYo. I’ve tried (almost) all of them. I love (almost) all of them! I have hundreds of dollars in workout videos at home on a shelf, but I’ve discovered I need someone I can’t fast forward through standing in front of me for an hour, telling me what to do, encouraging, pushing. Telling me I can do it. (Because now I know I CAN!)

I think it’s great the instructors offer options for different skill levels. I admit, though, that I found myself staying on the easier side of things for a long time. One night in Turbo Kick, Jennie told the class, “If you’re new, do this,” demonstrating the lower impact move I was working. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m not new anymore.” It was an epiphany and all that I needed to step things up.

This is not the first time I’ve tried to lose weight. In 2003, I tried a new diet plan and did walking videos in my living room. I lost 50 pounds in six months…I actually weighed 30 pounds less than I weigh now. I went off the diet, gained all of my weight back, plus an extra 25 pounds or so. I was miserable.

I didn’t take a serious “before” picture because I didn’t think there would really be an “after.” This time, I’m doing it for good, though. I’m eating right and moving more than I’ve ever moved in my life. I don’t get winded walking up stairs anymore. I’m wearing clothes that I couldn’t wear even when I weighed less. The scale isn’t moving so quickly these days, but I am okay with that for the most part—a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but it sure looks different! In the year since we’ve started Group Fitness classes at the Y, I’ve lost 30 pounds and more than 14 inches. I feel incredible. And while this is more of an “In progress” picture than an “After” one, I definitely consider myself a success story!

~The Hubster~
The Group Fitness classes at the Y have helped me on many levels. First, they have given my fitness plan a sense of direction. Before doing classes like Turbo Kick and Body Pump, my fitness plan was nonexistent. I would come and ride the bike or lift weights or run on the treadmill. But I had no real sense of direction, no end purpose or goals.

After doing my first Turbo Kick class, I was definitely hooked. Even though I was making a lot of mistakes, I was having a good time. Then I ventured into Body Pump. I had done some power lifting in high school, so I had the basic idea of what I was doing there. It was just a matter of regaining proper form and getting my strength back.

Which leads me into another thing that the Group Fitness classes have done for me; they taught me that I have the capacity to learn new things. They may not sink in right away, but I’ll get it over time. What I really appreciate is that the instructors take time to make sure that you are doing things the right way. They do it even if it means taking time after class to answer your questions and walk you through things so you understand them.

The one side benefit of the group classes is the camaraderie. Even though you are all in class working and sweating your way to a new you, there are really cool people there to encourage you. Both my wife and I have made many new friends since joining the classes.

If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d be leaner, stronger, more confident and in the best shape I’ve been in since college, I probably would’ve laughed. But here I am now, stronger both physically and emotionally. My clothes also fit me a lot better. And yes, I am in the best shape I’ve been in since college, which was about 20 years ago.

In fact, if you would’ve told me a year ago that I would’ve completed a sprint triathlon, chances are that I would’ve questioned your sanity. But guess what? Not only did I complete my first triathlon, I’m looking forward to doing more of them in the future! In fact, I’m actually looking forward to training for the next triathlon season.

The Group Fitness classes have also shown me that a new body doesn’t just happen by snapping my fingers and hoping a genie will come out and grant me a wish for a leaner, stronger body. I actually had to work for it. And so far, the work is paying off. In the last year I have lost close to 20 pounds. I’m not quite where I want to be, but I’m well on my way. And thanks to the guidance of instructors like Jennie, Beth, Julie, and Sarah, I know the direction that will get me there.


Sunday, September 13, 2009


I went to a park this weekend with a girlfriend of mine from high school. We've been chatting on Facebook and we have a standing Biggest Loser Date every Tuesday during the season--FYI, it starts again this Tuesday! We've been meaning to get together, but kids and life often get in the way and we usually end up just talking about how we should get together. (I'm not the only one who does this, am I?) She sent me a message on Friday, wanting to know what we were doing this weekend. I had a million plans and wasn't thrilled at the idea of trying to cram in even one extra thing.

Saturday morning, we hit the Y for Turbo Kick and Body Pump--it's my favorite way to start the weekend! Came home and made my Gramma's dip for a party that night and started reviewing exactly what I needed to do that day. I didn't feel like doing any of it, though, so I picked up the phone and called my Biggest Loser Date, asking if she was still in town, and if she still wanted to get together.

An hour later, we met up at a park. (It was just that easy! Why on earth didn't we do it sooner???) We had a great time chatting and catching up on the last ten years while the kids played. Before we left, I handed Big Sister my camera to take a picture of the two of us. She got a pretty good one, along with a few not-so-good ones...and she somehow snapped this completely random picture of, what else? The back of my arm.

I was surprised to see it, but even more shocked when I compared it to another picture of the back of my arm. So, it's not perfect. I'm not winning any contests. But it's something. And it thrills me.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back to Life...

Back to reality. Why did I miss this again? Remind me again why I couldn’t wait to get back to class.

So, Body Pump isn’t exactly my favorite. When I started going, Turbo Jennie told me this was the class that would change my body. And damn if she isn’t right. THIS is the class that has me losing inches. It’s hard. It’s not fun. (Okay, it’s kind of fun, but not nearly as fun as any of my other classes.) And did I mention, it’s hard? Yeah. It is.

Since I started, I’ve really been afraid to take a break from Pump. Even when I miss a day during the week and end up doing it once instead of twice, I dread going back. I always secretly thought that I would just quit if I ever missed a bunch of classes. (Which is one of the reasons I love the Y and the friends I’ve made there. I can’t just quit. There would be questions. And serious trouble.) Weight lifting was one of things I asked about at one of my very first appointments for my foot injury. “Oh, you can lift weights,” I was told. “You can’t stand and lift or carry them, but you can lift them.” Okay.

I made it work, too, with Jennie’s help. (You know, her gentle guidance? I believe it went something like, “Get your butt in here and do arms, girl!” *Sniff* So supportive. I love her, really!) Every Pump for the last five weeks—okay, four weeks, because I’m pretty sure I skipped the first week completely…and maybe the next week too, for some reason...okay, the last few classes, anyway—I’ve gone and set up all my stuff, with the Hubster dutifully carrying my weights and my friend, The Sex Toy Lady helping out. For the first ten minutes of class, during the warm up and squats, I would head out to the fitness area and ride the stationary bike. Back to class for the chest track. Walk the track a time or two during the back exercises. Back into class for triceps and biceps. Out again for lunges. Back for shoulders, abs, and cool down. During one class, Jennie pointed to me and told the other instructor, “Now that’s dedication.” Dedication? Maybe. More like I was scared out of my mind about taking time off and coming back.

Tonight, I went back for my first full class. Yes, my smile was about five miles wide when Doc said I could get back to exercising, but beneath the excitement was the fear that I just wouldn’t be strong enough. That I just couldn’t do it.

But I did it. I dropped my weight a little bit, but probably not as much as I should have. My legs are reminiscent of those Wacky-Waving-Inflatable-Arm-Flailing-Tube-Men. (Except I would be Wacky-Waving-Inflatable-Leg-Flailing-Tube-Lady.) I couldn’t help but giggle through class as my legs shook uncontrollably. It reminded me of my first Pump when Jennie told me to bend my knees and I told her not to look at me because they were shaking so badly. Arms were tough, but not because I haven’t been doing them, just because it’s a hard round. (For the record, my shoulders, triceps, and I are done with Body Pump 70.) My back feels awesome. I missed the clean and press. (I am totally serious, too. It’s a great move once you get it down. Of course, would have been easier tonight if my legs had been a little more stable than…oh, let’s say…Jell-O?)

I’ll have to see what tomorrow brings me. I am taking it easy still, but anxious to get moving more. I will never complain about going to class again. Ever.

I went to Weight Watchers last night. I went last week and threw a temper tantrum, threatening to quit if they made me get on the scale--they didn't. I skipped altogether the week before. I gained two pounds the week before that. This past week, I kicked it into gear, tracked my points the way I was supposed to, and stuck with the plan. I was rewarded at the scale, where I discovered I lost FOUR pounds! My weight loss total is 29.2 pounds--Very exciting stuff. I can only hope to get my metabolism back on track and really start knocking out the pounds. Let's GO!

I’m back. And better than ever.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Life Without...

I discovered tonight, that I might have to live the rest of my life without guacamole. I’m not sure I can do it. Avocados might be the one food I’ll risk an allergic reaction for.

It started out innocently enough. A couple of years ago, I noticed my tongue getting itchy when I would eat baby carrots. (You know, trying to be healthy.) I started washing the carrots really well, thinking it was something that was on them. My tongue was still itchy. I started buying *gasp* regular carrots and peeling, washing, and cutting them myself. It still did not help. Then I noticed the same thing happening when I ate cantaloupe.

I did some Googling and discovered I was not losing my mind. What I was actually experiencing was a reaction to my regular allergies. A cross-reaction. The next time I went to my doctor, I mentioned it to her, the Wikipedia information printed out in my purse. She knew before I even pulled it out, though. “Oh yes, Oral Allergy Syndrome. Your allergies are maturing.” Maturing? What the heck? I don’t want mature allergies. I want to eat carrots and cantaloupe.

I the past couple of years, I haven’t had as many “regular” allergy symptoms…just these new food problems that have suddenly popped up. I’ve tried everything to control my allergies. At one point in my life, I was on two daily medications, an inhaler, nose spray, and eye drops. With no relief. So I stopped everything cold turkey and just dealt with the symptoms as they popped up. My doctor told me that medication wouldn’t stop the reactions I was having, but it might make them less severe. I didn’t think an itchy tongue was that severe, but she warned me of hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis, which I’ve experienced before and would really like to avoid. She told me that raw foods would cause the worst reactions, but cooked foods may cause gastrointestinal problems…which I am also not fond of. We decided it would probably be best for me to just avoid the foods altogether. On my way out the door, she stopped me. “Be careful with strawberries.” Check.

Since there was nothing I could really do with this new diagnosis of “maturing allergies,” I avoided carrots and cantaloupe. When I had similar reactions to kiwi, bananas, blueberries, and melon, I avoided them, too. I forget every once in a while. I order a salad and don’t notice that they used a bag salad mix with shredded carrots in it. Once, I ordered a strawberry margarita and had sucked more than half of it down before I started feeling funny and swelling up. A couple of Benedryl helped, but I was pretty embarrassed.

The reactions got worse. A sliver of a carrot might have me breaking out in hives. I kissed Little Sister once after she ate strawberries and my lips swelled up like someone had punched me in the face. I ate a banana that almost choked me because my throat started closing.

I keep finding more and more things that I can’t eat. The list scares the heck out of me…I don’t know what I’ll do if I wake up one day and find I can’t eat apples. Or oranges, peppers, or peaches.

I went to an allergist this year who tested me for 64 environmental and food allergies. I am allergic to…pretty much everything. Trees, grass, pollen, cats, dogs, horses, dust, mold…everything. As far as food goes…I am only officially allergic to bananas and hazelnut. (I can’t remember if they tested me for avocados, but I will ask at my next appointment.) The doctor confirmed that my reactions are due to Oral Allergy Syndrome. He wants me to do allergy shots, which I declined, due to a near-death experience 8 years ago. (That’s a story for another night, though.) He put me on 3 allergy medications, hoping they will make my reactions less severe.

I am still waiting, but not have had much exposure to anything I’m allergic to since I saw the allergist. I recently thought I had a small reaction to watermelon, which was new, but I haven’t had more to confirm it was a problem. Tonight, I specifically requested an avocado for my salad, which also included tomato, orange pepper, green pepper, cucumbers, and black olives—all things I’ve eaten recently with no reaction. I’ve had slight reactions to guacamole in the past, but ignored it…Tonight, though, I wasted 4 points on half an avocado that made me itch.

And so the list grows…

Honeydew melon

The internet is full of people who are familiar with OAS. My life, however is not. To everyone I know, I’m just weird, allergic to bizarre things, and a pain in the ass to cook for or eat out with because I have to ask a million questions and often pick through my food to make sure there’s nothing hiding in there. I scour ingredients lists, looking for hidden things that might cause a reaction. Carrots hiding away in Italian salad dressing or pureed into tomato soup. Blueberries masquerading in my cherry yogurt. (This happened more than once. I’ll never buy that store’s brand again.)

I hate being so high maintenance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Long and the Shorts of It

Even though my weight loss has been yo-yoing the past month or so, people keep telling me how great I look. I have been so focused on the scale that I haven’t been very gracious. I suppose I should say “Thank you,” rather than rolling my eyes and saying, “My pants feel really tight today.” So, if I’ve blown off a compliment recently, I’m sorry and thank you. I do appreciate them, really.

I went into work today because I’m taking Friday off to head down to Omaha to visit my mom, some cousins, and the Henry Doorly zoo, of course. (Even if I may have to see it in a wheelchair or a scooter that beeps when I back up.) I actually like working Saturdays because it’s quiet and I can get a lot done. Plus, I can wear whatever I want.

Though I have shown up on a Saturday in my pjs, today I wore shorts and a T-shirt. I don’t wear shorts very often, because I’m not a real fan of my legs. I only have one pair of denim capris that fit me well right now, though, and they were in a wrinkly pile on my bathroom floor. I wanted to be comfortable, but not pajama comfortable—never know who might show up on a Saturday when I’m in pjs and no make up, hair a mess and singing at the top of my lungs to whatever’s on the radio. I’ve been caught more than once by our sneaky IT people. They’re like stealth bombers.

I was walking down the hall and caught my reflection in the window. I swear my right leg is looking slimmer than my left, which has been my biggest fear with this damn cast on. I can’t even say how many miles I’ve pedaled away on the stationary bike, pushing with my right foot while my left went along for the ride. With the cast on, I couldn’t tell if it was an illusion, or if my legs were actually different sizes.

I kind of forgot about it until it crossed my mind randomly this evening. (I am supposed to be editing, so I am, of course, finding other things to keep me occupied.) I started digging for a tape measure. I just had it last night, measuring the wall by our door for a new shelf to control the outrageous amount of shoes we seem to have accumulated. Naturally, tonight, it was nowhere to be found. I discovered one in my sewing kit and snuck into my bedroom for a little investigation.

My legs measure the same, so I’m thinking it was a weird illusion created by my cast or the window or the time-space-continuum. It’s got to be something like that, right? While measuring my legs, I remembered that there is a place in my 3 month points journal—which I have been using religiously for the last 4.9 days—to record measurements.

I flipped to that page and started comparing.

Since April 27th, I have lost one inch off my upper arms, two inches off my waist, two inches off my hips, and THREE inches off my thighs!!!

I am super impressed with myself and can’t believe I didn’t think to measure myself sooner. (Actually, I think I did, but couldn’t find my tape.)
Does it mean I’ll wear shorts more often? Probably not. I still don’t love my legs, though I’m thrilled to know that something I’m doing is working. I will promise to stop feeling sorry for people who have to see me in shorts. (Only if they’re wearing sunglasses, though, those babies are white, white, WHITE!!!)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

PC Awareness

A few words on portion control...

I like to eat.

No effin’ way, right?

I don’t remember having a problem with portion control when I was living at home. I remember the “Mom-Look.” The do-you-really-need-more-of-that look I’d get when reaching for seconds. She tried, but I was stubborn.

After I met the Hubster, who loves to cook, the pounds piled on. I was completely oblivious…until I saw a picture of a Fat Lady that I didn’t even recognize as myself.

I’m embarrassed to admit just how much food I can pack away. I tend to think of food as something I deserve. I had a rough day at work. I deserve that pizza. I exercised really hard. I’m having those chips. Or worse…this food is really good and I might not get more, so I better eat it now, while I can. (Yes, it has crossed my mind, as terrible as it may be.)

Weight Watchers is good for me when I follow the plan. It’s too easy, though, to not track food. To not count points. To fall off the WW wagon. I’ve done it a million times. Back in March, when I dragged my mom to her first Turbo Kick class, she told me afterwards that I should be able to eat whatever I wanted after burning that many calories. I’m sure she didn’t mean it, but it stuck with me anyway. (Why did I pick that moment to start listening to her???) I started being a little more lenient with myself on the points. (Hmmm, Hip Hop and Turbo tonight? I’ll have cheese AND mayo on my Subway tonight…and maybe some chips. I burned a LOT of calories. Let’s get dessert. Calories are so much easier to get IN than they are get OUT.) I kept losing weight, but it was very slow.

In April, at my WW meeting, we talked about tracking. I knew it was something I needed to be better at. Every Monday, at the meeting, I would tell myself I was going to write down everything I put in my mouth, but by dinnertime Tuesday, I’d have quit already. I decided to buy a 3 month point tracker notebook because I always feel like the more money I invest in something, the more likely I am to stick to it. (No, it doesn’t really work, but I’m sticking with that theory for now.) I used my tracker religiously for…17 days. Damn. Two weeks later, I picked it up again. I wrote down breakfast. That was May 19th.

Today, I crossed out May 19th and started new. (I ate the same breakfast today that I did almost two months ago. I am very boring.) I wrote down everything I ate. EVERYTHING. The seven M&M’s I picked out of the Hubster’s trail mix. The mini milky way I swiped from the candy dish at work. The full fat alfredo sauce I poured onto my pasta. Every bite. I’ll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

I have to.
I need to.

Since my foot injury, I haven’t been able to exercise like I want. Unfortunately, I haven’t changed my eating habits much and in the four weeks I’ve been practically immobile, I’ve gained (at least) four pounds. (I can HEAR my metabolism screaming at me. “What the hell are you doing? Get MOVING, girl!!!” It’s like having Jennie in my head.)

At my meeting last night, I refused to get on the scale, threatening to leave—or even quit—if they tried to make me. (Which they didn’t, of course.) I am out of control. I need to step back and remember why I’m doing this in the first place and remind myself that I can do it.

I can do this.

Tracking my points makes me realize that I actually don’t eat too badly. I generally eat pretty healthy for breakfast and lunch, and then screw it all up at dinner. The dinner I had tonight was only 9 points, though….the trick for me is eat only 9 points worth. Tonight, it meant measuring or weighing everything and boiling my noodles separately so I could make sure I had the proper portion. So I dirtied a few extra dishes…I ate my serving and when it was gone, it was gone. What I need is a big “OFF” switch. A big button that says, “Okay, stop eating NOW!” Since, apparently, I didn’t come with that button—did anyone?—I’m going to watch my portions, stick it out with Weight Watchers, track my points…

And lose this weight for good.

I am done being a Fat Lady.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm So Lame

Really, I am.

I’ve been writing and working…and feeling sorry for myself in general.

I was injured recently…the orthopaedic surgeon I saw declared it a foot sprain, but I’m not so sure it’s not something more serious. (Following up one week from today.) I’ve been in an air cast for the last three weeks. Missing my classes and my regular workouts. Missing running. Missing life.

So, I’m here. Wallowing in self pity and trying not to think of how much easier it would be to just give up and be a Fat Lady for the rest of my life.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Think I Love You (So What am I so Afraid Of?)

No one ever told me it could be this good.

I love the way it makes me feel. The thrill of my heart pounding against my chest. The burst of energy I get when my lungs crave oxygen. The sweat dripping off my body.

I love it. I can’t believe I never did it before now. It’s always been something I said I hated, but secretly always wanted to try...something I’ve always been afraid of.

I’ve only just started. I might end up hating it...but I don’t think I will. I think I love it.

There are a lot of things I’ve done recently that I never thought I would do. I never thought I would come to enjoy exercise as much as I do. I never thought I would see the changes that I’ve been seeing in myself. I never thought that this could really be it. (Because I've said it too many times before.)

But I never dreamed in a million years that I would love this.

I love to run. Love it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Where I Belong

I’m hovering.

I’m between milestones. Between sizes. Not quite a plateau yet, but I need an extra push to get me to the next ten pounds. To get me to the next size down.

I need to get there.

And I will. It’s just taking some time.

It’s always been a goal of mine to get out of the Plus-Sized department. My mom and Gramma are pros at scouring the clearance racks, and it’s always been frustrating for me to have to walk away from them to look in a different department. And really? 12 racks of 90% in the “regular sizes” and 1 in the bigger sizes. Plus, most stores tend to mix maternity in with plus sizes. Like Fat Ladies aren’t self conscious enough. Nothing like pulling out an adorable top, only to discover it was made for a pregnant woman. (“Wow, this shirt is so roomy! It really hides my tummy, almost like it was made for…Oh.”) I’ve never been able to grab a medium off the rack and try it on. Or take a shirt my mom has just tried on and say, “Hey, let’s see how it looks on me.” I would love to be a medium. I would settle for a large. Hell, at this point, (and with my rack) even an extra-large will do. I just want OUT of the Plus Sizes.

And I’m getting there.

I went shopping last week…there was a skirt that I had seen at Kohl’s that I really wanted. It was pretty, and I was very excited to buy it with my Kohl’s cash. It was not in the Plus-Size department, which was thrilling. I grabbed it, and a couple of others, with some shirts and headed into the dressing room. I zipped it up without even sucking in…and was disappointed to discover that it had pleats in all the wrong places and made my ass look like an elephant. A pink elephant, at that. Damn. The next skirt was the same style, so I didn’t even bother. The next one was cute, but tighter around the legs than I was comfortable with. Then came shirts. The first two had buttons, which create a big, gaping problem for me. The third had snaps, which I thought might work…until I couldn’t even pull the shirt down over my gigantic…problem area.

I almost cried. Standing there in the dressing room in a skirt that made my hips look like a bread truck, with my head and one arm sticking out of a shirt I couldn’t squeeze into…I almost broke down.

That’s it, I thought.
I’m done, I though.
Back to the Fat Lady department…It’s where I belong.

I struggled out of the shirt and blinked my tears away. As I hung it back on the hanger, I noticed a zipper down the side of the shirt. Oh. Yeah. I unzipped it and slipped it on with no problem…and turned to see two huge cantaloupes fighting to escape from the snaps down the front of the shirt. No, wait. Those were my breasts. Yowza. Definitely not work attire. Satisfied that at least the damn thing fit, I put it, and everything else, back on the rack and meandered my way back to the Plus Sizes.

Kohl’s has a pitiful selection of clothes for Fat Ladies. Every once in a while, I will get lucky with a cute shirt or two, but unless I need elastic-waist pants or a bedazzled sweater, there isn’t much to chose from. For example, my Kohl’s had 3 styles of plus sized dresses, each in two different colors. Two of them looked like shapeless sacks, one of them made me look pregnant—it wasn’t maternity, I checked! Come on, Kohl’s. Fat Ladies want to look pretty, too!

I could not find a single skirt, but grabbed a few more shirts and made my way to yet another dressing room.


Damn, why are these shirts so tight? Checking tags, I realized I had somehow found my way back to “regular” sizes and grabbed some XL’s as opposed to the plus-sized 1X. I wanted to leave everything in the dressing room and spend my $20 in Kohl’s cash on socks, but I only had one more shirt to try on. An XL. Why bother?

And what do you know? It fit.

Guess I may not belong in the Plus Sized department after all. (Not for much longer, anyway!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If the Shoe Fits...

But what about when it doesn't?

We've discovered that I have a hard time finding shoes that fit. I love shoes. I hate shoes. I mentioned a couple of times this week that I'd like to put tape on the soles of my feet and walk around barefoot all the time.

On Tuesday, I got all dolled up in my favorite dress and unearthed my brown dress sandals. It was 30 degrees, but I am more than ready for spring. I'd been at work for about five minutes when I remembered why I thought I had thrown them away. They are SO loud. They squeak with every step. I HATE them. I ended up taking them off and carrying them around for most of the day.

Tuesday night, I hit Body Pump and then the shoe store. I tried on every pair of clearance shoes they had in my size, and a few that weren't. I broke my left foot while walking my dog nine and a half years ago...the grass was wet and I slipped, twisting my ankle hard enough for the ligament to pull the bone away. (Yes, OW!) My doctor had me wrap it up, but decided it wasn't worth casting. I struggled for weeks on crutches--hobbling around my college campus with a heavy back pack, no less. (I remember walking into the the science building for my physics class that first day, stumbling along behind a guy who was also on crutches. I asked him what happened. "Broke my foot playing football. You?" I laughed. "Broke mine walking my dog." I am SO graceful.) Due my grossly slightly only-noticeable-to-me deformed foot, I need a wide shoe. It's an absolute necessity.

I tossed aside shoe after shoe, grumbling to myself about my stupid, ugly, fat feet. (Okay, not really. I used to work there, for crying out loud. I clean up after myself.) I couldn't find anything that fit. Not one pair. Nothing on clearance. Not the $65.00 pair of dress sandals. NOTHING fit. Not even a little bit. I stomped out of the store and down the strip center to the Fat Lady store.

At the Fat Lady store, I found exactly 6 pairs of the ugliest shoes I've ever seen in my entire life. (I'm not talking my gramma's Naturalizers, either.) They came in sizes 10, 11, and 12 wides. Not my size. (About an eight and a half. Sometimes an 8. Sometimes a 9. 8 and 3/4 Wide would be my perfect size.) I was crabby and sweaty and tired from Pump, so I left without even scouring the clearance racks.

I headed off to the discount shoe store, where I had purchased the hated squeaky sandals. I searched high and low for the elusive (W) sticker and tried on every pair I could find. Too flat. Too high. Too closed. Too open. Too fancy. Too ugly. Tell me again why I can't go barefoot all the time? Tell me!

I finally settled on two pairs that I don't absolutely hate. They were buy one, get one half off, and I paid $32 for both of them. Not terrible, but I'm not in love with them.

What's a girl with irregular feet to do?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Shortly before joining Weight Watchers last year, I read an article about writing to help weight loss. The woman who wrote the article took some time every morning to write--not type--about how she was feeling, her plans for the day, etcetera. Writing helped her be more in control of her choices, hence the weight loss.

Since I like to write...and I like to lose weight...I decided it would be worth a shot. I'm kind of pressed for time in the mornings, so I decided to write at night, before turning out the light and going to bed.

While flipping through notebooks earlier today, I found the one I had used. I enjoyed the time I spent writing, though I don't know if it would have helped me lose weight. (Maybe if I had given it more than three days...) Reading my words reminded me of why I'm doing this.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I went to a Halloween party last night. It was supposed to be fun--an evening full of friends and laughter. I had a good time, but there were tears behind every smile.

My husband dressed as Richard Simmons and it was our plan that I would be one of his groupies--a fat lady in a sweatsuit, huge stretch, right? In the thrift store, we laughed at the gigantic pants, pulling them at the waist, wondering if both of us could fit inside.

When it was time to get ready for the party, I pulled on the comically large pants. The elastic barely stretched over my hips and the front seam divided my huge stomach into two I had another ass in front of me. When I sat down, it became evident that I wouldn't be wearing those pants all night. I set off to Walmart in search of something more comfortable. I cried in the car, wondering how things have gotten so out of hand.

At the party, we were surrounded by cleavage, legs, and tramp stamps. When they voted for best female costume, I stood in my fat lady sweatsuit next to sexy police women, nearly naked angels, and a daring Mrs. Dracula. After the vote, we left. We were tired, my allergies were bothering me, and the depression was pressing on my chest with such force, I could scarcely breathe.

When I woke up this morning, I had one thought on my mind: BACON. A last meal of sorts. I've been thinking about joining Weight Watchers for a while now, and I've made the decision to do it. I've always thought that it was too slow or that it just didn't work for me, but the truth is that I've lost weight each and every time I've done it. (This will make my fourth...maybe fifth time joining.) I just have to make it work for me. It's got to be better than what I've been doing...which is nothing.

Tonight, I went upstairs to the workout room and walked on the treadmill. I fell off, of course, but I lasted about 25 minutes--I even jogged for 3 or 4 of them. I was aiming for 30 minutes, but my shoe was rubbing against my heel. I wore those things across 2 zoos and 4 amusement parks and didn't have a single problem, but put me on a treadmill and I end up with blisters. Exercise has always been hard for me, but this time, I'll do it, because I know it works.

I looked at pictures of myself from last night and from trick-or-treating the night before. I hardly recognized myself in the fat lady that stared back at me. It's time.

I'm proud of myself for sticking with the exercise...I was right--it does work. I remember that night so clearly, and the feelings that led up to the decision to change my life for good. It is time.